I am often approached by businesses that complain that their sales are not what they want them to be. They feel that they have a good organization with good sales representatives. They are certainly interested in growing their business, but the sales aren't there. As I dig further into their concerns, I often discover that the challenge for them might be bigger than just selling. It may be The Business of Sales.There is much more to selling than just sales. Sales has become a comprehensive operation - a business in its own right. Think about it. We have CRMs, sales process, sales forecasting, supply chain and logistics implications, and at the heart of it all - lead development. There is much more to sales than just selling, and I am discovering that many organizations have not taken the business areas mentioned above into consideration as to how to improve their selling.
There are two major areas that I consider important when one looks at this topic. The first is looking at the overall sales operations area. It takes into consideration those things like CRMs, sales process, sales forecasting and reporting. The second area looks at the overall business operation and the impact that sales has on it. This includes supply chain and logistics management, marketing, product management, sales support, and other activities that the success (or failure) of sales will impact. Let's briefly look at both.
Sales can be impacted (good or bad) by how well the sales process is developed and implemented. The CRM has become a requirement for successful sales and sales operation in today's selling world. Good CRM and sales process implementation drive a better focus on the sales activity. With a good sales process model, sales leadership is more effective at tracking opportunities and managing the forecast, which impacts the business.
Marketing and lead development are critical to the sales organization. Marketing has the responsibility of branding and positioning the business and its offering to the market. Between marketing and sales, there is the need to define what a lead is and then build initiatives to attract prospects for the sales team to qualify.
Businesses are in business to sell their products and services to make money. Organizations develop around the success of the selling organization. If the business manufactures something, it is critical to know the sales forecast to effectively manage the manufacturing process and the supporting logistics, especially if the manufacturing is done overseas. If an organization is in the services business, then there are serious considerations for the staffing requirements and the lead time necessary to have an effective team to support an implementation. Another area to optimize is product management. As products and services are planned for and developed, they need critical information from the sales organization to effectively plan future offerings.
As you assess your selling organization, it is important to take into consideration all of the elements mentioned above. As you look at your sales organization and the revenue you want it to generate, look at it as the business of sales and not just the sales team itself. If the sales organization is not producing, ask yourself, is it the sales team, or is it the overall focus on balancing the Business of Sales in my company.